Eight years ago, Chris and Elaine had a dream. It involved enjoying a spectacular home on a private lot; a place where they could relax after a hard day’s work while enjoying the privilege of watching their children grow. In their mind, all of this would take place in a family- friendly neighborhood where kids were busy playing outside. Of course, their dog Charley was going to be a part of the picture. I had just lost the battle to push them toward purchasing in Brighton or even the city. Selfishly, I wanted my dear friends to be close by.
Well, this being their dream, they acquired what could best be described as a large suburban home on a big lot with a lot of potential. It was the start of their vision for the future and they soon rolled up their sleeves and got to work. As is so often the case, dreams do come true- most especially if you work very hard at balancing wildly successful careers with the overriding priorities associated with parenthood. Having a good heart and always proceeding with good intent only sweetens the recipe. Today, Chris and Elaine enjoy what is now a great home with their two year old daughter, Ellison, five year old son, Tommy, and their now-eleven year old pup, Charley. When asked about their three favorite things, here's what they had to say….
No. 1 – Lower Level
Chris and Elaine’s most recent renovation has been the redesign of the family room in the lower level. Designed entirely by Elaine, the wall and bar are lined with reclaimed white oak from 1812, cultivated from a local barn. The wine room, which can hold up to 400 bottles, is, well, remarkable. The spa/sauna was an addition meant to accommodate out-of-town guests so that the entire floor had the quaint feel of a private apartment… After seeing these pictures, who wouldn’t want to be their house guests?
No. 2 – Dining Room
Chris and Elaine entertain- a lot. As a result, the dining room needed to be welcoming and comfortable. Obviously, sitting for six hours, enjoying multiple courses of food and a seemingly endless sea of wine can be exhausting. The Pipas worked diligently to ensure that their guests were relaxed and happy during these arduous endeavors. Elaine noted that this room used to be head-to-toe wood, and very, very “country”. So, about four years ago, they decided to forego the Ma and Pa Kettle aesthetic and added new paint, moldings, lighting, and furniture. Obviously, they succeeded.
No. 3 – Backyard
The backyard at Chris and Elaine’s home was also – you guessed it – redesigned! When they originally purchased the home, an old cedar deck wrapped around the back of the house. An attached awning obscured the view from the house into the yard and prevented the interior of from enjoying any sunlight. Clearly, its days were numbered. The day of reckoning arrived four years ago with the arrival of the incredible Steve Firlit, landscape architect to the stars. Within months of his arrival, Steve had transformed the backyard into a sophisticated wonderland to be enjoyed by both the kids and the adults. Tommy and Ellie get to run and enjoy the yard or explore the mysteries of Penfield’s Enchanted Forest. Meanwhile, mom and dad get to enjoy some wild life of their own. It usually involves a Screaming Eagle or a Stag’s Leap pulled from their wine cellar and enjoyed in front of their cozy fire pit. In short, everyone is happy!